Soft Pretzel Bites (Easy Recipe) (2023)

Move over, Auntie Anne’s, because these soft pretzel bites are ridiculously soft and chewy with a wonderfully crispy golden outer crust. Yum!

If you think it takes pro-cooking skills to make homemade pretzel bites, think again. While this recipe does call for making yeasted dough, don’t be intimidated.

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Soft Pretzel Bites (Easy Recipe) (1)

It’s a lot easier to make than you think!

And you know what? All that effort of kneading, proofing, and rolling the dough is absolutely worth it. Believe me; you’ll feel a different kind of satisfaction once you pull it off.

And you will!

So, skip the lines at the mall and make your own soft pretzel bites! After all, everything is better when it’s homemade.

Soft Pretzel Bites Recipe

To say these soft pretzel bites are delicious is an understatement.

These tender, pillowy treats with a crisp golden crust are heavenly!

You can dunk them in any kind of dip – whether sweet or savory – but honestly, even if you just sprinkle them with sea salt, they’ll be addictive.

This recipe is surprisingly easy, too, and it makes a lot – I’m talking almost 200 pieces!

They can definitely feed a crowd, but at the same time, don’t expect leftovers. These golden nuggets will disappear in a matter of minutes.

Soft Pretzel Bites (Easy Recipe) (2)


  • Dough: a kneaded mixture of yeast, water, melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and flour.
  • Baking Soda Bath: boiling water and baking soda is the key to giving the pretzel bites their signature texture.
  • Egg Wash: beaten egg and water to be brushed on the tops of the pretzels to give them that extra golden finish.

Active Yeast vs. Instant Yeast

While both types of yeast work to leaven bread dough and give it a light and airy texture, they don’t work exactly the same way.

Yes, you can use them interchangeably, but it’s essential to identify which one you’re using – so be sure to check the label!

Active dry yeast has a granular texture, much like cornmeal. Think of it as a living yet dormant organism that needs to be woken up to get it to work.

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It needs to be rehydrated by mixing it with warm water, milk, and sugar. Without this step, the yeast won’t be activated, which means it won’t do its job.

Important note: the water has to be just the right temperature to activate the yeast. If it’s too cold, it won’t wake up the yeast. If it’s too hot, it’ll kill it.

That said, you’ll want to use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the milk. It has to be at 110 degrees Fahrenheit for this step to work.

Instant yeast, on the other hand, is a type of dry yeast that dissolves and activates much faster than active dry yeast. This means you don’t need to wake up the organisms with water and milk for them to work.

(Video) Soft Pretzel Bites | Homemade Recipe

Simply add the instant yeast to the dough ingredients and knead right away.

Soft Pretzel Bites (Easy Recipe) (3)

Do You Have to Boil Pretzels Before Baking?

You have to boil pretzels before baking to get their signature chewy texture and golden-brown crust. You’ll use a baking soda bath (water and baking soda) to achieve this. Without this step, your pretzel bites will just have the texture of regular bread.

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How to Make Soft Pretzel Bites

Working with yeasted dough may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not as hard as you imagine it to be.

True, there are lots of steps involved, but they’re straightforward to follow!

Step 1: Activate the yeast.

Dry yeast is basically a dehydrated version of fresh yeast, so you’ll need to rehydrate it with liquid ingredients to get it going.

Here’s how:

Combine warm water, melted butter, brown sugar, yeast, and salt and let it sit for 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it starts to foam up on top.

This will take around 5 minutes.

Without this step, the yeast won’t do its job of making the dough rise.

Step 2: Make the dough.

Combine the yeast mixture and flour and beat them together using the hook attachment of your electric mixer.

Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, or until it forms into a ball of dough that’s soft and stretchy but not too sticky or tacky.

The dough shouldn’t be sticking to the bottom and sides of the bowl. If it does, add more flour and knead again.

If the dough turns out too stiff or tough, add a splash of hot water and knead again.

Pro-tip: You can knead the dough by hand if you don’t have a dough hook attachment. Lightly dust your work surface with flour to keep it from sticking.

Step 3: Proof the dough.

Place it in a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let it rest for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

Important: do not skip this step! If you don’t give the dough enough time to rise, your pretzel bites will be tough, dense, and rubbery instead of light, fluffy, and airy.

Step 4: Shape the dough into pretzel bites.

Stretch the dough with a rolling pin and divide it into 8 wedges. Roll the wedges into 24-inch ropes and slice them into 1-inch pieces.

I like to use a pizza cutter or bench scraper for easier cutting. A sharp knife works great if you don’t have either.

Step 5: Drop the bites into a baking soda bath.

Bring water to a boil and mix in baking soda. Then, drop the pretzels, 8-10 pieces at a time, and let them cook for about 30 seconds.

(Video) How to Make AMAZING Soft Pretzel Bites

This is key to giving the bites their signature crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside texture.

Step 6: Bake the pretzels.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pretzel bites onto a greased baking sheet. Brush them with an egg wash for extra shine.

Bake them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 14-16 minutes. Don’t be alarmed by the high temperature – it’s what gives the bites their lovely golden crust.

Step 7: Garnish with your favorite pretzel toppings, like salt or cinnamon sugar.

Serve and enjoy!

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Tips for the Best Pretzel Bites

Topping and Dipping Suggestions

While pretzels are good on their own, they’re not as addictive without toppings and dips.

Here are some of my faves:

  • Dip the freshly baked pretzel bites in melted butter.
  • Sprinkle them with coarse sea salt – simple yet divine.
  • Coat them in cinnamon sugar when they’re still hot, so it sticks.
  • Honey mustard dip provides a sweet and tangy flavor.
  • Ranch or bleu cheese dressing gives you a sensational, umami-rich pretzel experience.
  • Nacho cheese sauce – because cheese makes everything better.
  • Peanut butter or chocolate, something decadent to satisfy your sweet tooth.

How to Store Pretzel Bites

Pretzels taste best when served fresh from the oven. But, in case you have leftovers, you can store them in brown paper bags.

Don’t store them in Ziploc bags or airtight containers, as this will create condensation, making the pretzel bites soft and mushy.

Warm the pretzels back up in the broiler or the microwave for just a few seconds to help soften them again.

How to Make Pretzel Bites in Advance

As I said, pretzel bites taste best when served fresh from the oven. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare the dough in advance.

Make the dough and refrigerate it for up to 1 day or freeze it for 2-3 months.

Thaw frozen dough in the fridge overnight.

Take the bowl out of the fridge 2-3 hours before baking to allow it to come to room temperature. Shape, cook in a baking soda bath, and bake as instructed.

Can I Freeze Pretzel Bites?

Absolutely! In fact, pretzel bites freeze beautifully.

Place the cooled pretzel bites in freezer-safe bags and freeze for up to 2 months.

Let them thaw at room temperature and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

More Snack Recipes You’ll Love

Air Fryer Pizza Rolls
Paula Deen’s Cinnamon Rolls
Sausage Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls
Pigs in a Blanket with Cheese
Bisquick Sausage Balls

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Soft Pretzel Bites (Easy Recipe)




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(Video) EASY CINNAMON SUGAR PRETZEL BITES RECIPE | Four Ingredient Dough Pretzel Bites

Move over, Auntie Anne’s, because these homemade soft pretzel bites are ridiculously soft and chewy with a wonderfully crispy golden outer crust. Yum!


  • For the Dough
  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 lukewarm water or milk (110 degrees Fahrenheit)

  • 6 tablespoons 6 butter, melted

  • 2 tablespoons 2 brown sugar

  • 1 1 (.25-ounce) packet active dry yeast

    (Video) How to make Soft Pretzel Bites | Auntie Anne's Pretzels Recipe

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons 2 1/2 kosher salt

  • 4 cups 4 all-purpose flour, or more if needed

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vegetable oil

  • Non-stick spray, for greasing

  • For the Baking Soda Bath
  • 12 cups 12 cold water

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 baking soda

  • For the Egg Wash
  • 1 1 egg

  • 1 tablespoon 1 water


  • Place 1 1/2 cups warm water, melted butter, brown sugar, yeast, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Mix until well-combined. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to form bubbles.
  • Add 4 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, beating at low speed after every addition. Add 1/2 cup more flour if the dough is too sticky. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough is smooth and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 4-5 minutes. Add a small amount of flour if the dough is still too tacky.
  • Grease a large mixing bowl with vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 1 hour in a warm place, or until it doubles in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a sheet pan with non-stick spray.
  • Bring 12 cups of cold water to a boil. Stir in the baking soda as it continues to boil.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and roll it into a flat disc. Slice it into 8 wedges. Roll each wedge into a 24-inch rope. Slice the ropes into 1-inch pieces.
  • Drop 8-10 dough pieces into the pot of boiling water. Cook for 35 seconds. Place them on the greased sheet pan. Repeat until all pretzel bites are cooked.
  • Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the egg mixture over the tops of the pretzel bites.
  • Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!
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(Video) Soft Pretzel Bites | Delish

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How do you soften pretzel bites? ›

When ready to eat, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place on a baking sheet and bake from frozen for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through. Alternatively, you can microwave pretzel bites but they tend to get a little soggy.

How do you make pretzel soft pretzels? ›

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Place frozen pretzels on baking sheet and place in preheated oven for about 3 minutes.
  3. Take out and sprinkle pretzels with cheese.
  4. Let the cheese melt a minute then add pepperonis! ...
  5. Place back in oven for 2 minutes.
  6. Take out and sprinkle with parsley or Parmesan and serve with marinara for dipping!

Why do you boil soft pretzels before baking? ›

Boiling the dough causes it to instantly puff, creating a chewy interior and giving the exterior a head start on forming a crisp crust. The baking soda also produces pretzels with a deep golden brown and cracked appearance. Don't skip it!

What gives soft pretzels their flavor? ›

Lye. The dough is simple; take a basic yeast-risen dough that can be readied in an afternoon. But the trick to great pretzels is dipping the pretzels in a liquid wash before baking — and not just any wash, but a combination of water and lye. That's what gives pretzels their terrific color, texture and flavor.

Do all soft pretzels need a baking soda bath? ›

Baking Soda Bath (Step 6): The baking soda bath is strongly recommended because it helps create that chewy texture and distinctive pretzel flavor. If skipping, brush the shaped and unbaked pretzels with a mixture of 1 beaten egg + 1 Tablespoon of dairy or nondairy milk. This is known as an egg wash.

What makes a pretzel hard or soft? ›

Soft pretzels can usually be baked in 15 minutes; hard pretzels, meanwhile, must be baked for up to an hour. The longer baking time further dries out the pretzel. And, as we have discussed, the lack of moisture is what gives the hard pretzel its brittle texture.

What do they soak pretzels in? ›

Traditional Bavarian pretzels are dipped in a lye solution before they are baked. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is essentially the same stuff that's used to make soap and clean drains. It can even dissolve glass.

What makes soft pretzels shiny? ›

Lye is primarily used to make pretzels, and it's the reason for their unmistakable shiny, mahogany color. To prepare, shaped pretzels are dipped in a lye bath, then baked in the oven.

What can I use instead of lye for pretzels? ›

It's not lye, but it's strong enough to irritate. Baked soda is also strong enough to make a good lye substitute for pretzels. In order to get that distinctive flavor and deep brown color, pretzel makers briefly dunk the shaped pieces of raw dough in a lye solution before baking them.

How long do you leave pretzels in baking soda water? ›

In a large, wide pot, bring 6 cups water and 2 tablespoons baking soda to a boil. Then, transfer one shaped pretzel to the bath using a slotted spatula and let sit for 1 minute.

What is the secret to making pretzels? ›

Lye itself is a caustic substance which is known to be in soap and other cleaning products. But the secret to making the best pretzels at home is, in fact, the use of lye. “The key to getting the perfect pretzel bite is that its traditionally dipped in an alkaline solution, which is food-grade lye.

What is the purpose of putting an egg wash on the pretzel? ›

Egg Wash – Use an egg wash to give the pretzels a shiny golden brown exterior and help the salt (or seasonings) stick better.

Is pretzel dough the same as bread dough? ›

How is a pretzel different from bread? A lot of people wonder how a soft pretzel is different from bread! The answer is that the dough is boiled before it is baked! Boiling the dough in the baking soda & water bath is the step in this recipe that gives this Homemade Pretzel Bread it's pretzel-y identity!

What ingredient makes a pretzel taste like a pretzel? ›

Malt Syrup (the kind used for beer) and dipping them in a hot alkaline solution (baking soda or food grade lye and hot water) after baking for about 20–30 seconds gives a pretzel its characteristic flavor and distinctive brown coloring. The alkaline solution is a big contributor to the pretzel flavor.

What can I use instead of baking soda for pretzels? ›

The Easiest Baking Soda Substitute Is Baking Powder.

Can I skip baking soda in pretzels? ›

Opting out of a baking soda bath cuts down the time it takes to make these by like half. A baking soda bath is actually a cheat for at home pretzel makers, it's used instead of lye, which can be a bit dangerous to handle if you aren't a professional in that area.

Can you just dip pretzels in baking soda? ›

Dunking your pretzels in a baking soda bath prior to baking is what enables them to develop their distinctive color and crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside texture.

Do you salt pretzels before or after baking? ›

LIGHTLY Sprinkle the Pretzel Salt provided to have a small amount on each pretzel. You can re-use any salt that falls off onto the sheetpan after your baking process. Bake in your pre-heated 350° oven for 4-6 minutes, just enough to heat the pretzel through completely, and to dry the salt adhering to the tops.

Are soft pretzels fried or baked? ›

Pretzels are first baked and then kilned to drop the moisture content to produce the typical texture. Baking is continuously performed on wire mesh, direct gas-fired ovens that have at least three independent temperature zones or areas.

Are pretzels a good snack for weight loss? ›

If you think pretzels are the “safer” of the traditional snack items, think again. “While this salty treat can be low in fat, they hold no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever,” Grotto says. “In a side-by-side comparison, 1 ounce of pretzels raised blood sugar higher than 1 ounce of potato chips.”

Is pretzels good for diabetics? ›

Pretzels aren't considered diabetic-friendly foods for many reasons. This snack is known for its notoriously high sugar content, making it difficult for people with diabetes to manage blood sugar levels. Pretzels contain wheat and yeast, both having high glycemic indexes.

What gives pretzels their smell? ›

After removing other scent molecules individually, the researchers found two molecules that are essential to the unique pretzel scent: 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, which has a roasted smell, and 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone, which has a caramel smell.

Can you make pretzels without lye? ›

A common home alternative to lye when making pretzels or bagels is to use a baking soda solution. This isn't an ideal substitute, though, because baking soda on its own is still way less alkali than lye, and doesn't offer that distinctive crust and flavor. The solution? Bake the baking soda!

What is the pretzel dipping solution? ›

All you do is dissolve ½ cup of baking soda in 8 cups of water, bring the solution to a boil, lower it to a simmer (heating the solution makes it more reactive and effective), and briefly dunk each pretzel in it. Then you salt and bake the pretzels.

How do you make pretzels crisp? ›

Drizzle a small amount of water over the pretzel so that the pretzel is moist but not soggy. Wrap your pretzel in aluminum foil and place it in the oven for five minutes. If you want a crispier exterior, leave the aluminum foil off and just place the pretzel directly on the middle rack of your oven.

How do you get salt to stick to soft pretzels? ›

How do you get salt to stick to pretzels? Before baking the pretzel bites, you dip them in a baking soda solution. This gives them the “pretzel” taste that commercial pretzels get from lye. After dipping them, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt immediately.

How do you store soft pretzels so they don't get soggy? ›

Store Leftover Pretzels

Just cool them completely, then wrap them individually in plastic wrap. You can store them at room temperature for up to 2 days, or freeze them for up to 1 month. For a warm, soft pretzel, reheat them in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes, or for 10-12 minutes if frozen.

Is baking soda and lye the same thing? ›

Lye is a stronger alkaline than baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, with a pH reading ranging from around 13 to 14. Its base of sodium hydroxide is created commercially by the electrolysis of sodium chloride solution, as well as reacting calcium hydroxide with sodium carbonate, according to the FDA.

How do you make homemade lye? ›

To make lye in the kitchen, boil the ashes from a hardwood fire (soft woods are too resinous to mix with fat) in a little soft water, rainwater is best, for about half an hour. Allow the ashes to settle to the bottom of the pan and then skim the liquid lye off the top.

Does baking soda and water make lye? ›

You only need two ingredients for homemade lye water: Baked baking soda and water. Mix them at a 1:4 ratio. Then you're ready to use it!

How do you soften Auntie Anne's pretzels? ›

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 425° and place frozen pretzels on a baking sheet. Bake for 4–6 minutes.
Microwave Instructions:
  1. Remove pretzel pocket from plastic wrap and place on microwave-safe plate.
  2. Microwave individual pretzel pocket for 90 seconds.
  3. Enjoy!

How do you moisten pretzels? ›

Moisten pretzels with water or brush melted butter on pretzel and sprinkle with salt*. *A couple ways to moisten pretzels with water would be to use a spray bottle, basting brush, or a wet paper towel.

How do you heat pretzel bites in the microwave? ›

Pretzel Instructions

If using microwave: Place pretzel bites on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave until heated through, about 15 seconds per every 10 bites. Bon appétit!

Does Auntie Anne's Bake or fry their pretzels? ›

Auntie Anne's definitely doesn't serve pre-made pretzels! Every location receives shipments of the signature flour mixture, which is put in a mixer along with water and yeast. They're baked, brushed with real butter, salted and served right there.

Why do you dip pretzels in water? ›

So what makes a pretzel into a pretzel? The answer lies in a brief dip in an alkaline water bath before baking. This bath essentially gelatinizes the outside of the pretzel, preventing it from fully “springing” during baking (as bread does) and giving pretzels their signature chewy crust.

How do you get salt to stick to pretzel bites? ›

How do you get salt to stick to pretzels? Before baking the pretzel bites, you dip them in a baking soda solution. This gives them the “pretzel” taste that commercial pretzels get from lye. After dipping them, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt immediately.

What do they dip pretzels in before baking? ›

Traditional Bavarian pretzels are dipped in a lye solution before they are baked. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is essentially the same stuff that's used to make soap and clean drains. It can even dissolve glass.

Can you heat pretzel bites in air fryer? ›

Lightly spray the basket of the air fryer with oil of choice. Place pretzel bites into the basket, giving them enough room to expand. Brush them with melted butter. Cook for 7 minutes at 400 degrees F, or until lightly browned on top.

Can you heat a soft pretzel in an air fryer? ›

The air fryer, though? Soft, warm, mall-style soft pretzels that aren't tough at all and are ready to eat in less than 5 minutes. You don't need to thaw or defrost the frozen pretzels at all, so this method really couldn't be easier. You don't even have to flip them over in the air fryer!

Can you microwave frozen soft pretzels? ›

Microwavable Frozen Pretzels

Dampen pretzels with water. Sprinkle on salt. Microwave on high for 30 seconds or until desired quality is reached.


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